Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is moving forward with plans to travel North Korea next week to train the nation’s basketball team, despite the controversial execution of leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle.
“I’m going to be the most famous person in the world when you see American people holding hands and hoping the doors can be opened,” he told the Associated Press by phone. “I’m going back for [Kim John Un’s] birthday. Special.”
Rodman also scheduled an exhibition game in January to celebrate Kim’s birthday, which will feature former yet-to-be-named professional basketball players.
The hermit nation announced the execution of Kim John Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek, on Friday in Pyongyang. Jang was North Korea’s second-in-command.
Rodman, who considers Kim a close friend, scheduled the trip after first visiting in February with the Harlem Globetrotters as a part of a VICE documentary and HBO series.